The wrongful death lawsuit against the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company for “killing a baseball legend” has concluded in San Diego Superior Court. The family of deceased Hall of Fame baseball player Tony Gwynn settled with the company for a confidential amount.
“It’s resolved, and it’s been resolved to the satisfaction of all the parties involved,” David Casey, the family’s attorney, told USA TODAY Sports.
Gwynn’s wife, son and daughter filed the lawsuit in 2016, two years after the former San Diego Padres player died of salivary gland cancer. The complaint alleged Gwynn was addicted to the company’s tobacco products and used them for 30 years — beginning a decade before warnings appeared on the packaging about the health risks.
As USA TODAY noted in the article, smokeless tobacco once “had been part of the fabric of the game in professional baseball,” but Major League Baseball has prohibited its use by players who debuted after 2016.
Gwynn was a beloved player and a talented hitter. He rarely struck out. He was inducted into the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame in 2002, the MLB Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, and the California Hall of Fame in 2016. The team retired his #19 in 2004. A 1,200-pound bronze statue of Gwynn was unveiled in 2007 in “Tony Gwynn Plaza,” the park beyond San Diego Petco Park’s outfield.
Nothing will change the fate of the beloved Hall of Famer, but hopefully this high-profile settlement will send a message to big companies that it’s unacceptable to let people use their products without warning of the risks. It is also our hope that with the new wave of popularity with e-cigarettes, their manufacturers will be motivated to more thoroughly test their products and provide all appropriate warnings to consumers.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).